Sydney is a big place with lots to do. We spent 2 days and 3 nights running full blast to see as much as we could. My general impressions of Sydney are quite favorable. It appears to be very clean with a well developed mass transit system. I would have loved to spend more time there. My favorite memories are of eating ice cream late at night in a small parlor down in The Rocks. And who could forget the wonderful experience of attending a performance in the world famous Opera House.
Let's get to the details -
- Day 1 -
Our first full day in Sydney was beautiful and sunny. We took a bus tour of the city, The Domain and out along the harbor to Bondi Beach. We then returned to Darling Harbor and boarded a catamaran for lunch and a boat tour of the harbor. Then it was a brief time on our own in which we went over to Nurses Walk in The Rocks, rejoining our group for a tour of the Opera House. That evening we walked across the Harbor Bridge and took pictures of the city lights. We were impressed with the volume of foot traffic crossing the bridge, even late into the evening. I took way too many pictures of the Opera House, but, hey, this IS Sydney!
While we were setting up for the shots of the city lights we noticed these rather large and unusual birds flying overhead and landing in the trees behind us. It only took a couple of seconds to realize that these creatures with the 18-20 inch wingspan were not birds at all, but were actually bats! We could hear them bickering amongst themselves in the trees behind us the entire evening. It was more than a little disturbing. The bridge is sometimes known by its nickname 'The Coat Hanger'
- Day 2 -
Our second day in Sydney was rainy and cool. We spent the entire day on foot. We first headed up the street from our hotel to the Queen Victoria Building. Then a couple of blocks over we loaded up on Darrel Lea chocolates and we were good to go. We crossed town to Hyde Park and then North to The Domain, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Royal Botanic Gardens.
While in the botanic gardens we got a closer look at the bats we saw the night before. We were no less disturbed by what we wittnessed there. Otherwise, the gardens are very nice. I wish the weather could have cooperated with the photographic aspects of the day.
I really appreciate art galleries that permit photogrpahy. It's not that I want to photograph every picture in the gallery, but occasionally there are images that impress me significantly. Also, the interior architecture is frequently interesting as well. Maybe someday the Portland Art Museum will get with the program and quit being so protective.
That evening we walked over to the Opera House and caught a performance of HMS Pinafore and Trial By Jury. It was one of those 'once in a lifetime' events. The show got out after 10pm. A significant portion of the audience was on foot, and walked through the CBD to their apartments and hotels. There were almost no homeless people to be seen (I think we saw two) and the area seemed safe. We covered the entire mile or more to our hotel without incident.
Time to move on to Melbourne